Passengers disembark a Westjet aircraft that skidded off the runway at Halifax Stanfield International Airport on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020. The airline confirmed Flight 248 was en route from Toronto to Halifax and had landed on Runway 14 when the jet skidded off the end of the runway with 172 passengers and seven crew members aboard. The company said there were no injuries. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Passengers removed from WestJet aircraft after it skids off Halifax runway

The eastern half of the province was under a winter storm warning when the jet landed

A passenger jet skidded off the end of a runway at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport during a snowstorm on Sunday, but a spokeswoman for WestJet said there were no injuries.

The airline confirmed Flight 248 — en route from Toronto to Halifax — landed just after noon and overshot Runway 14 with 172 passengers and seven crew members aboard.

Photos from the scene suggest the Boeing 737-800 escaped major damage. However, the airport authority confirmed the aircraft was left disabled at the end of the runway.

Passenger Eric Wynne, a photographer with the daily Halifax Chronicle-Herald, said the landing was “a little chaotic.”

“It was a little more violent, in that I’m sure (the plane) had a bit of wind shear,” he said in an interview. “As we hit the tarmac, it was rocking, rolling side to side, but the aircrew kept it true and straight.”

Wynne said once the aircraft settled down, everything seemed normal — until the plane came to a stop.

“We saw snow-covered grass outside the windows,” he said. “And then the pilot came on and said we slid off the runway.”

The transition to the grassy area was a smooth one, Wynne said.

“It was just like me driving my car and ending up on the shoulder,” he said, adding that the jet appeared to have travelled about 50 metres beyond the runway.

“It was snowing, but not a lot,” he said. “But there was an accumulation on the ground.”

Wynne said the crew and passengers remained calm as buses arrived to take them to the terminal.

All passengers were removed from the stricken airplane by 2:30 p.m. However, the plane had yet to be moved by 6 p.m. local time.

The eastern half of the province, including the region east of Halifax, was under a winter storm warning when the jet landed. Heavy snow and whiteout conditions were evident at the airport soon after the plane came down.

ALSO READ: Dozens of flights cancelled in Montreal as ice storm hits Eastern Canada

WestJet spokeswoman Lauren Stewart said the airline later issued an apology to travellers and cancelled three flights into St. John’s, N.L., Halifax and Toronto.

Later in the day, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada confirmed it had sent an investigative team to the airport. The independent agency, which investigates air, rail, marine and pipeline accidents, released the aircraft to WestJet at 4:30 p.m.

On Nov. 7, 2018, a Boeing 747 cargo jet overshot the same runway, plowed through some approach lights and navigation gear, and came close to crashing through the airport’s outer fence.

The SkyLease Cargo plane was badly damaged as it slid 210 metres off the end of the runway in rainy conditions while being buffeted by a crosswind with a potential tailwind.

Flight KKE 4854, which had arrived from Chicago just after 5 a.m., was to be loaded with live lobster destined for China.

At the time, the airport authority was in the process of installing a runway-end safety area, a kind of buffer strip that gives planes extra stopping distance and can reduce damage and risk to passengers in the event of an overrun.

The Transportation Safety Board says all runways longer than 1,800 metres should have a 300-metre runway-end safety area or a means of stopping aircraft that provides an equivalent level of safety. Runway 14 is 2,300 metres long.

Since 2005, there have been 140 runway overruns in Canada, 19 of which have been the subject of a comprehensive TSB investigation.

— With files from Andrew Vaughan.

Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

“Let’s break the silence because we can”

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s awareness walk held Saturday in Fort St. James

New community library aims to foster positive community feelings

Vanderhoof resident has set up a little library in front of her property at the end of Lebler Road.

Vanderhoof politician running for president of UBCM

Brian Frenkel, municipal councillor, was the first Vice-President for the Union of BC Municipalities in 2019.

“Nature defines my art”: Bethany Giesbrecht, painter

This story is part of a weekly series showcasing artists in the region

Vanderhoofian nominated for the Premier’s Awards

Phil Turgeon has been nominated by the Ministry of Children and Family Development under the Leadership category.

STANDING TALL: For some, B.C.’s forest industry is the best office in the world

A look at the forest sector in B.C. – and those hoping for the best – amid mill curtailments

Royal B.C. Museum wants B.C.’s COVID-19 nature observations

COVID-19 Collecting For Our Time: ongoing project cataloguing province’s pandemic experience

Feds offer ‘life preserver’ funds to BC Ferries as pandemic sinks revenue

For every dollar the province spends the federal government will match

Bad behaviour at B.C. restaurants ignites campaign calling for respect

“If you can’t follow the rules, then stay home,” says BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Over half of Americans oppose Trump tariff on Canadian aluminum: survey

The survey was conducted Aug. 7 to 9 among 1,513 Canadians and 1,003 Americans

Oh baby, what a birthday gift: $2.8M raised to help B.C. boy with rare disease

‘We are very thankful to everybody,’ Aryan Deol’s father says

‘Huckleberry’ the bear killed after B.C. residents admit to leaving garbage out for videos

North Shore Black Bear Society said it was local residents who created a ‘death sentence’ for bear

Police investigating after insults, expletives yelled at federal minister’s staff

A 90-second video circulating on social media appears to have been shot by the person who was yelling

5 B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

Most Read